Luo Yi climbs a slope with a villager in the Wolong National Nature Reserve in Sichuan province. [Photo provided to China Daily] Born in Shenzhen, a bustling metropolis in Guangdong province, Luo Yi's perspective on life was shaped by the time she spent in the countryside when she was growing up. The 28-year-old's studies and work have seen her live in major cities around the globe, such as Washington, Hong Kong and Beijing, but her passions remain firmly planted in the countryside. In 2015, she graduated from the University of Chicago with a master's in social science and later set up Laotu, a social enterprise committed to urban and rural sustainable development and consumer and youth education. "My interest is in the relationship between people and the environment," Luo said. Pave paradise The roots of Luo's enthusiasm for environmental issues were planted by her father, an outdoor enthusiast. During her childhood she spent almost every weekend experiencing nature. "Quite often, we found ourselves spending all day in a park," she said. By the age of 4, she was climbing hilly terrain with her family and taking 10-kilometer bicycle rides in the countryside. "The experiences are probably the starting point for my reflection on the environment," she said. However, her observations of the impact of urbanization on the seaside village of Baguang over a number of years are what shaped her future career. The village had been a favorite hiking destination for Luo's family. But as urbanization swallowed it up, residents had to make way for industrial projects. The lush trees shrouding the village were cut down. "I cried for it many times," Luo said.